"Do or die" for Fire
The Chicago Fire will look to overcome a two-goal deficit and advance to the CONCACAF Champions Cup Final Wednesday when it hosts Costa Rican powerhouse club Deportivo Saprissa in Leg Two of the Champions Cup semifinals at Soldier Field beginning at 8:30 p.m. ET. The match will be broadcast live in Spanish via WRTO 1200 AM and, for the first time in team history, the match will be broadcast in English via the team's website www.chicago-fire.com. The Fire will be looking to avenge last week's 2-0 loss to the Central American club in a contest that saw Fire captain Chris Armas and Coach Dave Sarachan ejected during the game in San Josi, Costa Rica.
About Deportivo Saprissa
Deportivo Saprissa has established itself as one of the most dominant clubs in Costa Rica since its inception in 1935. In its nearly 70 years of competition, Saprissa has captured 22 domestic titles (including six consecutive titles from 1972-1977), second only to rival Alajuelense's 23 crowns, and have finished second 15 times, including during the 2002/2003 season. Saprissa has also tasted success in the Champions Cup after winning the regional crown in 1993 and 1995. "Los Morados" currently sit atop the Costa Rican First Division's 2004 Clausura season with a 12-2-4 record, their 40 points placing them one spot in front of Club Sport Herediano, who fell off the lead just last weekend. Saprissa also stretched its current unbeaten streak to ten games courtesy of a 1-0 road win at archrival LD Alajuelense last Sunday. With only four games remaining in the Costa Rican spring season, Saprissa and Herediano will fight for the league lead in an important clash this Sunday at Saprissa's home ground of Estadio Nacional in San Josi.
The high-flying attack of Saprissa includes three of the Costa Rican First Division's top five goal scorers during the 2003/2004 season, a trio spearheaded by forward Alvaro Saborio, whose 23 tallies leads the league. Following Sabario on that chart are teammates Alonso Solis (16 goals, 3rd in league) and Gerrold Drummond (14 goals, 5th in league). Saprissa's opponents have also had to deal with a stifling defense that has allowed just 16 goals in 18 matches during the spring Clausura tournament, a corps that is headed by Costa Rican National Team regular Jervis Drummond and captain Victor Cordero, who will be forced to miss Wednesday's return leg due to a red card suspension. Saprissa is coached by Technical Director Hernan Medford, the longtime Costa Rican National Team and Saprissa striker that represented his country in the 1990 and 2002 World Cups.
Chicago Champions of Solider Field in CONCACAF Play
Coming off a rare home loss last Saturday against the Dallas Burn, the Fire will look to again establish Soldier Field as the toughest place to play in America while also hoping to keep its perfect home mark in Champions Cup play. The Fire has gone 3-0-0 at home in the regional tournament, a slate that includes one game in three different venues - the old Soldier Field, Naperville's Cardinal Stadium and New Soldier Field. The Fire's first home game in Champions Cup action at New Soldier Field went down as an instant classic, as Chicago overcame a three-goal deficit in its aggregate goals quarterfinal series against San Juan Jabloteh to advance in the tournament. The "Men in Red" have dominated at home in the tournament, outscoring its three opponents by an impressive 8-1 margin.